Post 76 / The Next Language
February 8, 2022
When the Church Says No
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he. [Pro 29:18 KJV]
More commonly, when you ask about recording a village’s language, you anticipate a negative response from some legal authorities over the village or from the local priest. In the last six months we have had a few churches say no to recordings in their language. But considering that in the six months we have been in over 50 villages, such a response is proving to be the exception. Normally, the local church is the first place we go for guidance on content for recordings and for language helpers. After all, the local church is going to be the logical distribution point for any recordings that are going to be done.
To avoid exposing the guilty I am going to be non-specific about who and where we are talking about.
The first thing we try to do is understand exactly why there is a negative response.
In a couple of instances they thought we would be charging for our services.
Sometimes they misunderstand what we really want to do. More than once we were mistaken for Bible Translators and they simply did not want to tackle such a large project, which is known to last for generations. When they learned that the scope of our ministry is seed sowing, at least one of the above mentioned naysayers actually became enthusiastic participants.
Sometimes our proposal does not meet their agenda. Sometimes our willingness to let them set the schedule and set the date changes their tune.
Sometimes they think we want to start another sect or church. We show them our 5fish.mobi with over six thousand languages and assure them that not one of the churches in those languages has a Global Recordings title on it. Our Gospel seeds are tools which we make freely available for local churches to use for evangelism. They are never for our own aggrandizement.
Sometimes they minimize the value of the messages in the mother tongue. We will usually already have information on how many active speakers there are, but we point out that normally a lot more people understand the language than speak it — by a factor of two or three to one. We find out more about how much of the targeted community has still not heard the Gospel. We point out our own experience reaching displaced people, where someone will listen and respond to their hometown message just because they are homesick. This could happen to their own relatives or friends from their own village!
A couple of times we have run into doctrinal differences. In the case of one Unitarian church, they would not work with us, but if they subscribe to the deity of Christ we will work with them as long as they agree to not insert their own doctrinal distinctives into our messages.
When I approached one pastor he unhesitatingly declared that since the church had already decided not to cooperate with a Bible translation project, they wouldn’t even agree to let us take a word list.
In another case a Christian brother promised to find language helpers for us in a robust neighboring language group. His church agreed to help. Months have gone by, with repeated follow-ups, but there is no indication that anything has been done.
So, what do you do when the doors won’t open and the church becomes the primary hindrance to a recording project instead of the facilitator? There is a temptation to just move on. I had actually decided that in one case, but could not sleep for thinking of over a thousand speakers shut out from hearing the Gospel.
In the case of the pastor that absolutely refused everything, I told him that I would treat his edict the same way Peter and John did when the leaders of the temple told them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:19-20)…
But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
Sometimes it is a matter of waiting and praying. We found in two cases that the “pastor” was actually a caretaker who simply did not have the authority to make such decisions and so it was an automatic no. When we finally caught up with the defacto pastor he was glad to work with us after understanding what we offered.
I share these things so that you will pray. This is not something you normally think of as an issue… but in spiritual warfare the enemy is very happy to confuse things.
Larry DeVilbiss | Executive Director
Global Recordings Network USA
If you are interested in learning how to share links on social media that will promote use of our recordings and the Gospel in general, please contact RolandHeck@GlobalRecordings.Net